Early Schools

Churches existed prior to the Civil War, often without denominational attachments. A building was set aside for the African American families to read the "Good Book" (Bible), and sing old slave hymns. Although most could not read, those who could read, read to others. As long as the people held on to the "Good Book", they knew they had to live right to be blessed by God, and have a better life.
    The structure was also known as the first school house. The structure sat northeast of Master Holland's home.

1894/1920 - 2ND SCHOOL HOUSE
In late 1890's, the second African American school house, Holland High, had a new location behind the present Pine Grove Baptist Church.

1920/1930 - 3RD PUBLIC Holland High SCHOOL
The third school was a two-story wood framed building, which sat north west of Holland Quarters Cemetery.
    The top floor consisted of a large chapel and one classroom with a front gallery (porch). The only way in or out of the top floor/rooms was to go down the inside stairs to the ground floor. The ground floor consisted of four large rooms and an outside gallery that covered three-fourths of the building (front and both sides).
    When Holland High (Walton Common School District #12) consolidated with Winder's School District (located behind the refinery in Carthage), the students transferred to the "Quarters".

1925/1926 - EXTENDED Higher EDUCATION
Up to the 1925/26 school year, students only had to complete seven grades in school. As principal, Professor John A. Chappell made it possible for students to remain in school another three years. Those who had already completed the 7th grade could return if they so desired. Completing the 10th grade would insure students of a chance to graduate and receive a diploma.
    Professor Chappell's last year as principal for the "Quarters" was 1926. He was not at the school when the first graduates graduated in 1927. Professor and Mrs. Chappell transferred to Shady Grove Long Branch.
    Professor Chappell, his wife Mamie Sylvia Cayton, and their infant daughter, Catherine, are laid to rest in the HQ Cemetery.

1927 - 1ST GRADUATES Completed the 10th grade
Principal: Professor W. H. Henry
    Teacher: Agnes T. Taylor
    Miss Taylor and Professor Henry began their teaching career in the "Quarters" at the same time in 1926. Miss Taylor taught 1926/27 school year, the students she taught were the first to graduate after completing the 10th grade.

1. Annie Lou Rayson married LeRoy Chester "L. C." Lister
2. George Eddie, Jr. married Roberta Adams
3. Miranda Clark
4. Bernice Kizzine
5. Girdie Chatham-Menfee

Being the first five students to graduate from the "Quarters" they felt the need to leave a mark for their accomplishments. For their achievements they planted a sycamore tree at the end of the walkway from the school. A rock walkway leads from the steps of the school to the sycamore tree.

1930/Summer 1954 - 4TH PUBLIC Panola County Training Center SCHOOL
Principal: Professor Harris
    In 1917, Julius Rosenwald established the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which provided gifts for education, including part of the costs for the construction of more than 4,500 schools for African Americans in 15 southern states. The Panola County Training Center was one of the many Julius Rosenwald schools. The structure sat in the same place as the third school for the "Quarters".
    The dedication was conducted by Mr. Owens in 1931.
    Principal: Professor Eugene Dicks
    Professor Dicks was also the school's 1st Vocational Agricultural Teacher. Since he could not hold both positions, he gave up his position as principal to Professor John I. Hill in order to continue teaching the students.
    Principal: Professor John I. Hill
    The structure had only one level with six classrooms, a coat rack and a large chapel.
    The main attraction for the school was the three large windows in the front of the building. The structure was much different from the other school buildings.
    Professor Windom "W. H." Coss was the second Vocational Agricultural Teacher. He and the high school students transferred from Holland High to Turner High School (a school for African Americans) in the Carthage Independent School District.
    John A. Huey and his wife Willie Mae Reddick ran a boarding house for the teachers, west of the school.

Fall 1948 - THE TRANSFER
The upper grade students were bussed to Turner High school. A. J. Brown, my grandfather, was one of the first bus drivers to transport the children.
    Principal: Mr. Arzie Sanders

Summer 1954 - TORN DOWN
In the summer of '54, when the 1953/54 school year ended, the teachers and students knew that the Panola County Training Center, which was the fourth school for the community would be torn down. The construction of the new West Side Elementary School would be built in its place.
    The fifth and final school was under construction; the construction of the building would last through the summer break. Special care was taken at this time. This would be the first elementary school and the 1st school for the "Quarters" to be constructed of brick. When it was time for the doors to open, the school was not yet completed.
    A decision had to be made as to where the teachers would teach the elementary children. The older children were already being bussed into Carthage to attend Turner High School.
    There were only two places that could accommodate the needs of the teachers and students. One place to consider was Pine Grove Baptist Church. Lola Bell Brown-Johns taught 1st and 2nd graders, and Suscelia Chappell-Chadwick-Lucas taught 4th graders.
    Lola Bell married Lee Frederick "Dick" Johns and to this union no children were born. She and her husband were descendants of Holland Quarters. She taught for years, in the Walton Common School District and in the Carthage Independent School District. On June 26, 1985, cousin Lola Bell died and was laid to rest in the HQ cemetery beside her husband Dick Johns.
    Mrs. Suscelia Chappell-Chadwick-Lucas, was born on February 28, 1923, in Terrell, Kaufman County, Texas, to the parentage of John Alonzo and Mamie Sylvia Cayton-Chappell. She was an infant when her parents moved to Panola County to continue their teaching careers and raise a family.
    Mrs. Lucas taught the children of the children that her parents taught in the 1920's.
    The other option for the children was the lower level of the Masonic Hall.

Fall 1954/1-1955 - OPEN
Now with the incompletion of West Side Elementary School, the children of the fifties made a difference. The Old Masonic Hall was now open to teach the children.
    Professor Andrew Jackson "A. J." Hudson, and Mrs. Annie Lou Rayson-Lister were allowed to take their classes inside the Hall. Mr. Hudson taught 3rd and 7th grade on the west side of the lower level. His roll top desk sat in the far west corner of the room.
    Even though Mr. Hudson was much older and larger in size than Mrs. Lister, she had the largest number of children to teach. Mrs. Lister stands only 5'1" tall, and most of the 40+ students of the 5th and 6th grade were larger in size than she was. She was small in size, but big on teaching.
    When the heavy rains came in November of 1954, Mrs. Lister took her students to the church to join Mrs. Johns and Mrs. Lucas. Mr. Hudson remained in the Hall with his students.

1955/1969 - 5TH PUBLIC West Side Elementary SCHOOL
Principal: Professor Andrew Jackson "A. J." Hudson
    Teachers: Mrs. Lister, Mrs. Johns, Mrs. Lucas and Professor Hudson.
    In January of 1955, the doors to the school were finally opened and the children, grades 1-7, were able to enter.
    The building was constructed of Red Brick. The single level structure had four rooms, an auditorium, a kitchen and (at last) inside restroom facilities. The school sat northwest of the HQ cemetery.

The students and teachers transferred to the white public schools in the Carthage Independent School District. Dr. Martin Luther King's dream came to pass, and the African Americans and whites were being taught together.

1970 - HEADSTART day care center
Inside West Side Elementary School building.

There are only a couple of surviving teachers of the "Quarters".
    Most of the 40+ baby boomers who attended school under the guidance of Mrs. Lister, still live within the "Quarters".